OCEAN CITY – One local group is working to bring the talents and insights of the area’s young professionals together while supporting the community.
The Ocean City Young Professionals (OCYP), operated under the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, is a group of local professionals committed to networking, growing business and volunteering. More than two-dozen 20- and 30-somethings from various fields make up the group.
“It’s easier for us to connect to each other, being in the same peer group,” member Anna O’Neill said.
The group meets once a month and holds a variety of morning and evening networking events throughout the year. What makes the organization unique is that anyone is welcome to attend any event, even if they don’t intend to formally join the group.
“If they’re switching jobs or new to the area, this is a good transitionary group,” member Joya Mattie said.
Chrissy Maddy agreed. Members are not required to attend certain meetings or events.
“It’s not a commitment,” Maddy said.
At monthly meetings, the group hosts guest speakers to address relevant business skills or practices as well as representatives of community groups. Attendees are also invited to introduce themselves and share information about their businesses.
“We’re trying to be an asset to the people who participate,” O’Neill said.
Members of the Ocean City Young Professionals also stress the importance of volunteering in the community. The group has adopted a beach in Ocean City through the Ocean City Surf Club and also hosts the annual United Christmas Spirit Campaign. The event, which will be held for the sixth time this December, gives children in need the chance to participate in a shopping spree at Walmart. Each child is given $100 to spend. In 2015, OCYP raised more than $6,000 and took 61 needy children to Walmart.
Though the actual event takes place in December, OCYP members have already started their fundraising efforts.
“Because the holiday season is so busy, it’s important for us to get the information out now,” O’Neill said.
On July 18, the group will host a “Christmas in July” event at Burley Oak Brewery in Berlin. Young professionals will serve as guest bartenders at the brewery, collecting tips for their cause, while customers will be offered the chance to participate in a 50/50 raffle and win a stocking full of prizes.
OCYP members hope to be able to expand the United Christmas Spirit Campaign this year.
“The more money we raise the more kids we can take shopping,” member Cate Nellans said.
At the July 18 event, OCYP will also be signing up volunteers for the December shopping spree. Adults are needed to wrap gifts and provide supervision for the children as they make their way up and down the aisles at Walmart.
“It’s so rewarding,” Maddy said. “We all love it.”
For more information on OCYP or the Christmas campaign, email [email protected] or find the group on Facebook.